Eanfrith of Bernicia

From Academic Kids

Eanfrith (c. 590633 or 634) was briefly King of Bernicia from 632 to 633, or from 633 to 634. He was the son of Aethelfrith, a Bernician king who had also ruled Deira to the south before being killed in battle against Raedwald of East Anglia, who had given refuge to Edwin, an exiled prince of Deira.

Edwin then became king of Northumbria, and Eanfrith, who was, according to Bede, the eldest of Aethelfrith's sons, went into exile to the north. In his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Bede writes that "For all the time that Edwin reigned, the sons of the aforesaid Etheifrid [Aethelfrith], who had reigned before him, with many of the nobility, lived in banishment among the Scots or Picts, and were there instructed according to the doctrine of the Scots, and received the grace of baptism."

Eanfrith married a Pictish princess and had a son, Talorcan, who later became a king of the Picts (653657). Edwin was killed by the army of Cadwallon ap Cadfan of Gwynedd and Penda of Mercia at the Battle of Hatfield Chase on October 12, 632 (or 633), and Eanfrith, taking the opportunity to return home, became king of Bernicia. Bede tells us that as soon as Eanfrith became king, he "renounced and lost" his faith and returned to the "abominations" of his "former idols".

Cadwallon continued his assault on the lands of Northumbria regardless of Edwin's death, however. Eanfrith went to Cadwallon "with only twelve chosen soldiers" in an attempt to negotiate peace, but Cadwallon had him murdered.

The year in which he and Osric ruled was subsequently deemed so abhorrent because of their paganism that it was decided to add that year to the length of the reign of the Christian Oswald of Bernicia (Eanfrith's brother), who defeated Cadwallon and came to rule both Bernicia and Deira, so as to ignore the brief reigns of Eanfrith and Osric.

References

  • Bede, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Book III, Chapter I. (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/bede-book3.html)


Preceded by:
Edwin
King of Bernicia
Succeeded by:
Oswald

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no:Eanfrith av Bernicia

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